Medtronic’s Bill George: ‘CEO Truth-Telling Is A Two-Way Street’

With Baby Boomers retiring en masse, the next generation is stepping up to lead America’s companies, and Bill George, former CEO of Medtronic (and a Boomer), thinks it’s high time that torch was passed. “We need new leaders who know how to lead in crises—and to lead very differently than Baby Boomers,” says George. “We need leaders who know how to empower people and who lead with their hearts as well as their heads.”

That may not always come naturally to all GenX-ers or millennials, which is why George directs True North: Emerging Leaders Edition to that cohort. In the book, co-written with millennial entrepreneur Zach Clayton, George shares mistakes he and other CEOs have made, the lessons gleaned from them, and practical advice that he hopes will help the next generation of CEOs to lead with both passion and compassion. “These are difficult times and recent crises have really changed the attitudes [of employees]. We need leaders who are in touch with that.”

In the following interview with Chief Executive, George shares some of what he learned from his own struggles.

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